New English Translation
The Destruction of the Temple
13 Now[a] as Jesus[b] was going out of the temple courts, one of his disciples said to him, “Teacher, look at these tremendous stones and buildings!”[c] 2 Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left on another.[d] All will be torn down!”[e]
Signs of the End of the Age
3 So[f] while he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John,[g] and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things[h] happen? And what will be the sign that all these things are about to take place?” 5 Jesus began to say to them, “Watch out[i] that no one misleads you. 6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’[j] and they will mislead many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. These things must happen, but the end is still to come.[k] 8 For nation will rise up in arms[l] against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines.[m] These are but the beginning of birth pains.
Persecution of Disciples
9 “You must watch out for yourselves. You will be handed over[n] to councils[o] and beaten in the synagogues.[p] You will stand before governors and kings[q] because of me, as a witness to them. 10 First the gospel must be preached to all nations. 11 When they arrest you and hand you over for trial,[r] do not worry about what to speak. But say whatever is given you at that time,[s] for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against[t] parents and have them put to death. 13 You will be hated by everyone because of my name.[u] But the one who endures to the end will be saved.[v]
The Abomination of Desolation
14 “But when you see the abomination of desolation[w] standing where it[x] should not be” (let the reader understand),[y] “then those in Judea must flee[z] to the mountains. 15 The one on the roof[aa] must not come down or go inside to take anything out of his house.[ab] 16 The one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 17 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! 18 Pray that it may not be in winter. 19 For in those days there will be suffering[ac] unlike anything that has happened[ad] from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, or ever will happen. 20 And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would be saved. But because of the elect, whom he chose, he has cut them[ae] short. 21 Then[af] if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’[ag] or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe him. 22 For false messiahs[ah] and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, the elect. 23 Be careful! I have told you everything ahead of time.
The Arrival of the Son of Man
24 “But in those days, after that suffering,[ai] the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.[aj] 26 Then everyone[ak] will see the Son of Man arriving in the clouds[al] with great power and glory. 27 Then he will send angels and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.[am]
The Parable of the Fig Tree
28 “Learn this parable from the fig tree: Whenever its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also you, when you see these things happening, know[an] that he is near, right at the door. 30 I tell you the truth,[ao] this generation[ap] will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.[aq]
32 “But as for that day or hour no one knows it—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son[ar]—except the Father. 33 Watch out! Stay alert![as] For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey. He left his house and put his slaves[at] in charge, assigning[au] to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to stay alert. 35 Stay alert, then, because you do not know when the owner of the house will return—whether during evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows, or at dawn— 36 or else he might find you asleep when he returns suddenly. 37 What I say to you I say to everyone: Stay alert!”
- Mark 13:1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
- Mark 13:1 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Mark 13:1 sn The Jerusalem temple was widely admired around the world. See Josephus, Ant. 15.11 [15.380-425]; J. W. 5.5 [5.184-227] and Tacitus, History 5.8, who called it “immensely opulent.” Josephus compared it to a beautiful snowcapped mountain.
- Mark 13:2 sn With the statement not one stone will be left on another Jesus predicted the total destruction of the temple, something that did occur in a.d. 70.
- Mark 13:2 tn Grk “not one stone will be left here on another which will not be thrown down.”
- Mark 13:3 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative.
- Mark 13:3 tn Grk “and James and John,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.
- Mark 13:4 sn Both references to these things are plural, so more than the temple’s destruction is in view. The question may presuppose that such a catastrophe signals the end.
- Mark 13:5 tn Or “Be on guard.”
- Mark 13:6 tn That is, “I am the Messiah.”
- Mark 13:7 tn Grk “it is not yet the end.”
- Mark 13:8 tn For the translation “rise up in arms” see L&N 55.2.
- Mark 13:8 sn See Isa 5:13-14; 13:6-16; Hag 2:6-7; Zech 14:4.
- Mark 13:9 tn Grk “They will hand you over.” “They” is an indefinite plural, referring to people in general. The parallel in Matt 10:17 makes this explicit.
- Mark 13:9 sn Councils in this context has a non-technical sense referring to local judicial bodies (courts) attached to the Jewish synagogue (cf. BDAG 967 s.v. συνέδριον 1.a). These courts would be responsible for meting out justice and discipline within the Jewish community.
- Mark 13:9 sn See the note on synagogue in 1:21.
- Mark 13:9 sn These statements look at persecution both from a Jewish context as the mention of councils and synagogues suggests, and from a Gentile one as the reference to governors and kings suggests. Some fulfillment of Jewish persecution can be seen in Acts.
- Mark 13:11 tn Or “hand you over into custody,” in particular “as a t.t. of police and courts ‘hand over into [the] custody [of]’” (BDAG 762 s.v. παραδίδωμι 1.b). In context some sort of trial is implied (cf. Luke 12:11).
- Mark 13:11 tn Grk “in that hour.”
- Mark 13:12 tn Or “will rebel against.”
- Mark 13:13 sn See 1 Cor 1:25-31.
- Mark 13:13 sn But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Jesus was not claiming here that salvation is by works, because he had already taught that it is by grace (cf. 10:15). He was simply arguing that genuine faith evidences itself in persistence through even the worst of trials.
- Mark 13:14 sn The reference to the abomination of desolation is an allusion to Dan 9:27. Though some have seen the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy in the actions of Antiochus IV (or a representative of his) in 167 b.c., the words of Jesus seem to indicate that Antiochus was not the final fulfillment, but that there was (from Jesus’ perspective) still another fulfillment yet to come. Some argue that this was realized in a.d. 70, while others claim that it refers specifically to Antichrist and will not be fully realized until the period of the great tribulation at the end of the age (cf. Mark 13:19, 24; Matt 24:21; Rev 3:10).
- Mark 13:14 tn Or perhaps “he.” Those who see the participle ἑστηκότα as masculine singular generally understand it to refer to the individual known as the Antichrist, often citing 2 Thess 2:3-4 as a related passage. By grammatical form the participle ἑστηκότα can also be neuter plural, however, and this is sometimes interpreted as referring to various abominations or atrocities committed during the intertestamental period, or to a statue set up in the temple, or to an altar constructed on top of the altar of burnt offering for the purpose of pagan sacrifices. Each of these views is not without difficulties. Confining the issue merely to the grammatical problem, the interpreter is forced to choose between a discrepancy in grammatical gender (the participle ἑστηκότα is masculine singular but the word it modifies, βδέλυγμα, is neuter singular) or a discrepancy in number (the participle ἑστηκότα is neuter plural but the word it modifies, βδέλυγμα, is neuter singular. Given that the issue is one of grammatical gender, however, it is still possible for the neuter head noun (βδέλυγμα) to refer to a masculine individual rather than a set of circumstances or a thing. The present translation uses “it” for the following pronoun, allowing a degree of ambiguity to remain for the English reader.
- Mark 13:14 sn This parenthetical comment is generally regarded as a command by the author made directly to the readers, not as part of Jesus’ original speech. For this reason the statement is not placed within quotation marks.
- Mark 13:14 sn Fleeing to the mountains is a key OT image: Gen 19:17; Judg 6:2; Isa 15:5; Jer 16:16; Zech 14:5.
- Mark 13:15 sn Most of the roofs in the NT were flat roofs made of pounded dirt, sometimes mixed with lime or stones, supported by heavy wooden beams. They generally had an easy means of access, either a sturdy wooden ladder or stone stairway, sometimes on the outside of the house.
- Mark 13:15 sn The nature of the judgment coming upon them will be so quick and devastating that one will not have time to come down or go inside to take anything out of his house. It is best just to escape as quickly as possible.
- Mark 13:19 tn Traditionally, “tribulation.”
- Mark 13:19 sn Suffering unlike anything that has happened. Some refer this event to the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. While the events of a.d. 70 may reflect somewhat the comments Jesus makes here, the reference to the scope and severity of this judgment strongly suggest that much more is in view. Most likely Jesus is referring to the great end-time judgment on Jerusalem in the great tribulation.
- Mark 13:20 tn Grk “the days.”
- Mark 13:21 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Mark 13:21 tn Or “the Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn See the note on Christ in 8:29.
- Mark 13:22 tn Or “false christs”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”
- Mark 13:24 tn Traditionally, “tribulation.”
- Mark 13:25 sn An allusion to Isa 13:10; 34:4 (LXX); Joel 2:10. The heavens were seen as the abode of heavenly forces, so their shaking indicates distress in the spiritual realm. Although some take the powers as a reference to bodies in the heavens (like stars and planets, “the heavenly bodies,” NIV) this is not as likely.
- Mark 13:26 tn Grk “they.”
- Mark 13:26 sn An allusion to Dan 7:13. Here is Jesus returning with full judging authority.
- Mark 13:27 tn Or “of the sky”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context.
- Mark 13:29 tn The verb γινώσκετε (ginōskete, “know”) can be parsed as either present indicative or present imperative. In this context the imperative fits better, since the movement is from analogy (trees and seasons) to the future (the signs of the coming of the kingdom) and since the emphasis is on preparation for this event.
- Mark 13:30 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
- Mark 13:30 sn This is one of the hardest verses in the gospels to interpret. Various views exist for what generation means. (1) Some take it as meaning “race” and thus as an assurance that the Jewish race (nation) will not pass away. But it is very questionable that the Greek term γενεά (genea) can have this meaning. Two other options are possible. (2) Generation might mean “this type of generation” and refer to the generation of wicked humanity. Then the point is that humanity will not perish, because God will redeem it. Or (3) generation may refer to “the generation that sees the signs of the end” (v. 26), who will also see the end itself. In other words, once the movement to the return of Christ starts, all the events connected with it happen very quickly, in rapid succession.
- Mark 13:31 sn The words that Jesus predicts here will never pass away. They are more stable and lasting than creation itself! For this kind of image, see Isa 40:8; 55:10-11.
- Mark 13:32 sn The phrase nor the Son has caused a great deal of theological debate because on the surface it appears to conflict with the concept of Jesus’ deity. The straightforward meaning of the text is that the Son does not know the time of his return. If Jesus were divine, though, wouldn’t he know this information? There are other passages which similarly indicate that Jesus did not know certain things. For example, Luke 2:52 indicates that Jesus grew in wisdom; this has to mean that Jesus did not know everything all the time but learned as he grew. So Mark 13:32 is not alone in implying that Jesus did not know certain things. The best option for understanding Mark 13:32 and similar passages is to hold the two concepts in tension: The Son in his earthly life and ministry had limited knowledge of certain things, yet he was still deity.
- Mark 13:33 tc The vast majority of witnesses (א A C L W Θ Ψ ƒ1,13 M lat sy co) have καὶ προσεύχεσθε after ἀγρυπνεῖτε (agrupneite kai proseuchesthe, “stay alert and pray”). This may be a motivated reading, influenced by the similar command in Mark 14:38 where προσεύχεσθε is solidly attested, and more generally from the parallel in Luke 21:36 (though δέομαι [deomai, “ask”] is used there). As B. M. Metzger notes, it is a predictable variant that scribes would have been likely to produce independently of each other (TCGNT 95). The words are not found in B D a c d k. Although the external evidence for the shorter reading is slender, it probably better accounts for the longer reading than vice versa.
- Mark 13:34 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 10:44.
- Mark 13:34 tn Grk “giving.”